Sparring with Peng Soon-Liu Ying brings out the Olympian in Tang Jie

Learning from one another: (from left) Goh Liu Ying, Chen Tang Jie and Chan Peng Soon posing for a photograph after their training session.

PETALING JAYA: Mixed doubles shuttler Chen Tang Jie is even more inspired to become an Olympian after a short training stint with seniors Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying.

The 23-year-old Tang Jie’s job as a sparring partner for independent shuttlers Peng Soon-Liu Ying over a six-week period ended at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM) just hours before the Rio Olympic Games silver medallists Peng Soon-Liu Ying and the rest of the badminton team members left for Tokyo for the Olympic Games yesterday.

Tang Jie said his admiration for Peng Soon-Liu Ying continues to grow because of the latter’s commitment in training.

“I’ve learnt a lot of things from them. I got to see how they prepared for the major Games and how they analysed their opponents when the draw was released,” said Tang Jie.

“I sure hope to be fit like Peng Soon. He can last so long on court although he is 33. He is really patient on court.

“He has not gone back home with his family during this quarantine training but he is so focused when he is training alone.

“Liu Ying is also so tough. She has gone through several serious injuries but continues to stay strong and keeps fighting. It’s not easy to come back after an operation but she proved that she can.

“This makes me respect them even more.”

But more than their devotion on court, Tang Jie is more appreciative of Peng Soon-Liu Ying’s friendship.

“I am touched because of their willingness to teach me. When training is over, both will stay back to just train a little bit extra with my partner Peck Yen Wei and I,” said Tang Jie.

“They tell us what our shortcomings are and give us tips to be better. They don’t rush back quickly to their rooms when the training is over.

“I’m so thankful I got this opportunity to spar with them. I wish them success in Tokyo and hope they will truly enjoy themselves.”

Now that he has benefited from the sparring session, Tang Jie is more determined to feature in his first Olympics at the next edition in Paris in 2024.

“They’ve put a strong desire in me to play in the Olympics. I will work hard with my partner under my coach Paulus Firman to qualify for the next Olympics,” added Tang Jie.

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